ecu preps for harding

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ECU Preps For Harding

Photo Courtesy: Tim McCarty and ECU Sports Information

The East Central University football team is set to play in its second of three homecoming games, as they travel to face Harding, Saturday, Oct. 24 at 2 p.m. for their homecoming game at First Security Stadium.

The Broadcast: ECU’s radio home for Tiger football is Ada’s KXFC, 105.5, FM ‘The X-Factor’. Mike Manos returns to broadcast the games for his 19th consecutive season. Manos has worked 197 Tiger games since taking over the play-by-play duties in 1997.

The Coverage: Fans who can’t be at the game can find links to live stats, live video and the KXFC radio broadcast on ECUTigers.com. Go to the football schedule page. You can also download the KXFC radio app for your smartphone by searching ‘105.5 the X Factor.’

The Series: Saturday’s game will be the 14th in the all-time series, which the Bisons currently hold a 3-10 advantage. That includes a 1-6 mark when playing as conference opponents and a 0-7 record when playing in Searcy, Ark.

Scouting Harding: The Bisons come into the game with the same record as ECU and two other teams in the Great American Conference, for a four-way tie for second. Harding took four OTs to win their last outing (at Southeastern) after dropping the previous two games to Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist.

The Bisons are a true rushing team, with 2,606 of their 3,263 total yards coming on the rush. Harding has only attempted 55 passes this season (connecting on 25) for 657 yards. The team also defends against the rush better, with 745 rushing yards allowed and 1,731 passing. The team also seems to be better on defense in the first half, allowing 52 points, while allowing 105 in the second half.

Park Parish is the quarterback for the Bisons, leading the team in passing and rushing. He has gone 25-of-53 passing, for 657 yards, and has 557 yards on the ground, with 15 touchdowns. Parish also connects with Zach Shelley, Matt Tenison and Michael Latu most often on rushing plays. Shelley has 530 yards and three TDs, Tenison adds 439 yards and six TDs and Latu has 387 yards with five touchdowns. Andrew Dather is the top receiver with 362 yards and a touchdown.

Daylan Skidmore is the standout on the defensive side, with 54 (26-28) tackles, including 3.5 TFL. Harding has four other players with 30-40 tackles. DeAndre Baines is the standout of the group, with 30 (14-16) tackles, two interceptions, seven pass break ups and nine passes defended.

Chasing the Record: Senior Jameel Whitney finished the 2014 season with the record for the most tackles in a single season (111) and is now working on taking over the career tackle record from Norris Wrenn (2009-12). Wrenn recorded 278 career tackles and Whitney tied that record, with 14 tackles in his last outing, making his first tackles against Harding the new record.

Pulling in Records: Junior David Moore has had a good start to the season, with his 10 touchdowns for the year he is just three from breaking the single season receiving TD record of 12 set by George Robbins in 2011. His 10 scores this season also put him at 22 for a career, which is a new ECU Career Receiving Touchdown record. The old record was 20 set by Ed Wood from 1962-65. David could also break the single season record for reception yards in a game (970-Caleb Holley, 2012). David has 661 yards this year and is averaging 94.4 with four games left to play.

Senior Rocky Moore is the other have of those touchdowns this season and set the single season passing touchdown record in the win over ATU. He broke the record of 25 set by Tyler Vanderzee in 2010 and now has 26 to his credit this season.

Leaping Lexus: Junior Lexus Jackson has had a good season on defense for the Tigers, but has been somewhat quite in the overall picture. That all changed with 28 seconds left in the game against No. 24 Arkansas Tech when he caught his second interception of the season to guarantee the win for the Tigers. In 2015, Jackson has tallied 25 (12-13) tackles, 4.5 TFL, two interceptions, four break ups and six passes defended.

Taking Down the Ranked: The Tigers beat their first ranked team since Oct. 27, 2012 with a 20-19 win over No. 24 Arkansas Tech (10/17). The last time ECU defeated a ranked team was a 37-27 win over Ouachita Baptist at Norris Field.

Among the Nation’s Best: ECU has had a strong season, allowing them to be ranked in the top-10 in the NCAA in six statistical categories. The Tigers also have two players ranked in the top-10 in at least one category. The top rankings for ECU is a No. 2 ranking in punt return defense (-1.29) and turnovers gained (24). Senior Rocky Moore is ranked in the top-10 individually in three categories, including No. 3 in passing TDs (26).

Interception Insanity: The game against Northwestern turned into an interception crazy game, with 10 total interceptions. The Tigers caught seven of those passes for a new Great American Conference single game record. A total of four players claimed an interception for ECU, with three (Mariano Dillard, Dar-ray Jubilee & Blake Summers) each netting two.

Dual Threat: After the opening two games of the year, the Tigers’ rushing game has turned up the intensity to make it a dual threat with the passing power of quarterback Rocky Moore. Through the first two games, ECU averaged 64.0 yards rushing and that has increased to 145.1 yards for the season. Senior Jamal Hall and freshman Tre’von Jackson are two key reasons for the increase. Hall is now averaging 65.9 yards per game, while Jackson adds 57.4.

Record Outing: ECU’s 69-0 victory over SNU marked the first home shutout since Sept. 25, 2010, when the Tigers claimed a 23-0 victory over Southwestern. The lopsided score also accounted for the second-best margin of victory in school history. The record is an 8-0 win over Bacone in 1939.

#GiveMeMoore: The Tigers have scored 25 of their 32 touchdowns on the pass so far in 2015 and 10 of those have been between senior Rocky Moore and junior David Moore. Rocky Moore has had a strong season, averaging 306.2 passing yards per game, while David Moore ranks in the top-10 in five GAC categories, including first in receiving yards per game.

Air Raid: The opening game of the season was a tight battle all the way to the end, but it was a good night for the quarterback and receivers from ECU. Senior quarterback Rocky Moore recorded 405 yards passing, going 23-of-40. Senior Nathan Pickett and junior David Moore were the recipients of a good chuck of those yards, with each garnering over 100 yards. Pickett caught two passes for 129 yards, with a long catch of 82 yards that set up a touchdown. David Moore caught four passes for 100 yards and scored two TD’s. The Tigers had a total of 10 receivers catch at least one pass, with four of those earning over 50 yards.

Up Next: The next game will be action packed for the Tigers, as it is the final home game of the year, the annual homecoming game, senior day and will feature a reunion for the 1965 Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference championship team. ECU will host Arkansas-Monticello, Saturday, Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. at Norris Field at Koi Ishto Stadium.

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